U.S. Forest Service plans prescribed burns this winter

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The U.S. Forest Service will conduct prescribed burning operations on the San Bernardino National Forest in the upcoming months as weather conditions permit.

The burns will be on three ranger districts — Front Country,  Ranger District, Mountaintop and San Jacinto. The prescribed Raburns are one of many tools used to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health.

Various methods of prescribed burning will be implemented, including broadcast and pile burning to reduce accumulated fuel loadings on the forest floor and ladder fuels  that can carry fire from the forest floor into tree canopies. Ladder fuels are vegetation such as, needles, small plants, brush and small trees both dead and living.

In the San Jacinto Ranger District, broadcast burns are planned for Thomas Mountain, east of Ramona Indian Reservation and west of Garner Valley.

Slash and debris pile burning is planned to the south and west of Pine Cove as the USFS maintains the fuelbreak around that area. Other areas where pile burning may occur are Westridge, southeast of Strawberry Creek, west of Dry Creek and near various fire stations on the Hill.

It is unlikely that any prescribed burns will occur this month, according to Zach Behrens, San Bernardino National Forest public information officer.

“We’re still waiting for a more traditional winter weather pattern,” he said. “Generally, 2 inches of rain is a good indicator and we have not had that yet. If we get precipitation, we’re looking at January at the earliest.”

These projects are conducted in coordination with the National Weather Service and South Coast Air Quality Management District before and during prescribed burns in order to manage smoke production and minimize impacts as much as possible.

When the burns are begun, the USFS will post signs along the local roadways to alert the public to burning activity. The USFS will send out occasional reminders to the public, alerting to potential smoke in the air.

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